The world’s largest bee, which was once thought to be extinct, is actually not extinct.
Wallace’s Giant Bee (Megachile pluto) was discovered alive and well in January, in the Indonesian province of North Maluku on the Maluku Islands.
According to Live Science, the giant bee, which possesses a 2.5-inch wingspan and giant mandibles — was last seen by researchers in 1981.
It was named after Alfred Russell Wallace, who first discovered the species in 1858.
Natural history and conservation photographer Clay Bolt described the team’s five-day search for Global Wildlife Conservation.
“It was absolutely breathtaking to see this ‘flying bulldog’ of an insect that we weren’t sure existed anymore,” photographer Clay Bolt, who captured the images of the giant, said in a statement published by The University of Sydney in Australia.
The bee is also known as “Raja ofu,” or “king of bees.”
Not much else is known about the giant bee, other than it has a dark body and measures about 1.5 inches in length — that’s about as long as a human thumb.
Oh, and it’s four times bigger than European honeybees, apparently.
Adam Messer, a researcher formerly with the Department of Entomology at the University of Georgia, wrote in a study published in the Journal of the Kansas Entomological Society, that the massive bees build communal nests on termite dwellings in trees.
According to The Guardian, the bee’s habitat is threatened by massive deforestation for agriculture in Indonesia, and it is a target for collectors due to its size and rarity.
Right now there is no legal protection concerning the bee’s trading.
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